A cost benefit analysis of the Texas Academic Skills Program at a large southwestern public university



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Texas Tech University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the cost benefits of the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) administration at Texas Tech University. The study examines the cost elements, as well as the benefits to the institution and students, and makes recommendations that may prove useful to the administrators, policy makers, and interested groups by providing some basic data on student costs and benefits.

Since there is growing evidence throughout Texas and the rest of the nation that large numbers of college students and college graduates lack academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, the TASP was developed as a program to ensure that students attending public colleges and universities in Texas have the academic skills to perform effectively in college-level course work. The major impetus for the development of the TASP has been A Generation of Failure; The Case for Testing and Remediation in Texas Higher Education, a report published by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in July 1986. The Texas legislature's response to A Generation of Failure was to accept nearly all the recommendations from the report. House Bill (HB) 2182, passed in the spring of 1987, requires testing for all entering students and mandates remedial education for students who do not meet established criteria. THECB and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) agreed to develop jointly a single test that would serve both as one of the criteria for admission to public and private teacher education programs and as the test mandated by HB 2182 for students entering public colleges and universities. National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES) of Amherst, Massachusetts was selected to develop and administer the TASP Test. The first test was administered in March of 1989.

To provide additional insight and background, different remedial and developmental education at selected post-secondary institutions in states like California, Washington, Georgia, Virginia, Nevada, Maryland, Kansas, New Jersey, and Florida were reviewed.

In order to assess the economic significance of cost-benefit analysis as applied to the educational process, various techniques, including cost-feasibility, cost-utility, cost-effectiveness, and cost-benefit analyses, have been reviewed.

This study has investigated different costs involved by the institution, the individual student, and the state in the TASP administration, and has analyzed various elements of those costs. Further, this study probed the elements of benefits—both economic and non-economic—to the institution, the student, and the state as a result of the TASP.

Statistical analyses in the form of t tests and correlation analyses were performed to ascertain the effectiveness of remediation programs and correlation among variables, such as ethnic and gender factors to GPA, TASP scores, SAT scores, and ACT scores, respectively.

Finally, this study offered some recommendations on the basis of the findings and results.